By Qhakaza Mthembu
I was walking to Pick ‘n Pay with my housemate the other day and a group of girls from a local high school were walking past with their usual high school girl rowdiness. Then, as they get louder, one of them turns and says “Do you guys have to be so ghetto?” I only give passing attention to them because I’ve heard the phrase “being ghetto” so many times before.
The popularity of the term though has raised my attention to what it really means. Can anyone be ghetto? Could I be ghetto without trying to be? And, most importantly, do I want to be considered ghetto? An investigation into the idea of ghetto, which was a strictly American term but has crept into the lingo of most young people, seems to have considerable pertinence. One would cringe at the idea of being classified as ghetto and not knowing how the judgment occurred. By questioning Rhodes students, a dossier of actions and personalities that may be regarded as ghetto have been established. Though all the sources are students at Rhodes, some wished to remain anonymous.
What makes you ghetto?
• “Well I’ve always understood it as referring to people who were backward when it came to their general etiquette. Like if they were being really loud in public. If you like kwaito then everyone calls you ghetto. – Phumzile Ncube, 3rd year BCom.
• “If you carry a plastic bag in your bag to put over your relaxed hair when it begins to rain or you think the ‘pineapple freeze’ hairstyle is still in, then, you’re ghetto.” – Nelisiwe Mtsweni, 3rd year BA.
• “It’s pure unadulterated self-expression. It’s just if you embrace the freedom to be as you wish without all this social conformity nonsense. I love ghetto people.” – Sphiwo Kobese 1st year BA.
• “A striped golf shirt tucked into formal white pants with shiny square-toe style shoes on cold days, topped with a jersey with that an intricate diamond pattern.” – 4th year BA.
• “When you just feel the need to be loud for no good reason.” – 2nd year BA
• “If your going-out outfit is not complete until you put on fishnet stockings with your All Stars.” – 1st year BSc
• “If you automatically break out into “iyo” on the Equilibrium dance floor and if your Mzekezeke CD has scratches from over play.” – 2nd year BMus.
• “That gold in the tooth thing, I just don’t get it. That’s just ghetto to the core.” – 2nd year BA.